The government informed that by December this year all its websites will move to the latest format of Internet addressing system – IPv6.
Every device on the computer network is assigned an internet protocol (IP) address, which is a numerical address that is its identity and forms the basis of Internet communication. At present, the websites run on IPv4. IPv6 can handle security issues better and the government has set a target of 2020 by which the entire country is likely to be transformed into the same format.
At present, most devices globally are running on the 27-year old ‘IPv4’, which uses 32-bit addresses limiting the IP address space to about 4.3 billion possible unique addresses.
However, IPv6 will use 128-bit addresses, thereby making available in almost infinite pool of such unique IP addresses.
Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) is part of the IPv6 base protocol suite and supports end-to-end security, authentication and non-repudiation (a service that provides proof of the integrity and origin of data), thereby simplifying total security into applications.
India at present has 35 million IPv4 addresses against a user base of about 360 million data users.
In addition, with the government targetting at 160 million and 600 million broadband customers by the year 2017 and 2020, respectively, the need to move to IPv6 becomes more crucial.
The Department of IT has taken various steps, including holding workshops, to encourage state governments to hold pilot projects and 27 websites have already been brought under IPv6 platform in India.
A IPv6 test bed has also been installed by the Telecom Engineering Centre ( TEC), a technical wing of Department of Telecom to help vendors and stakeholders test their equipments for IPv6 compatibility and readiness.
To address the various problems being faced by the stakeholders regarding IP address allocation from Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC – which allocates IP numbers in the Asia Pacific region), the National Internet Registry ( NIR) has been approved to allocate IPv6 addresses in India.
This will lend a systematic approach to cater to all future requirements in the country.